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Letting Go by Looking Up

30 Jan

I wouldn’t at all be surprised to find that when I attempt to save this blog post I am prompted to change the title due to the fact that I have already written one named this.  It seems like it’s something I have struggled with, constantly.  Feeling the need to control or be in control or….well, worry.

Let me back up really fast before I dive in.  I have been diagnosed with anxiety and depression in my life and I deal with both quite regularly.  It doesn’t mean I am never happy or always fidgety or ever crazy…it just means that is my reality and just as you’d take medicine for cholesterol or diabetes, I take medication for that.  End of story, not up for debate and save the judging for Jesus, okurrrr?  🙂

So….when I go to a retreat or am in a period of deep thought or reading a devotion I am consistently looking for what the Lord is showing me through His Word, praise and worship music and through other people.  I was blessed to be able to attend You Are last weekend.  If you are local…or not…you need to just start planning on being there next year.  It is indescribable. Such a gift that I live just a few miles from where it is held but honestly, after going the last two years…if they moved it to the moon I’d be there!   It is so well thought out…with times of praise, worship, prayer, teaching, fellowship and even shopping!  One of the greatest moments I experienced there this year was in the prayer room….  Again, I can’t even describe the feeling of being one of HUNDREDS of women literally waiting in a line for prayer (by over twenty other women that were pouring out prayers over others!!)…it was a surreal moment to see the huge calling for prayer set before me so visually….and to be honest that was the first thing I thought of in reflection.  It gave me a new focus and new thirst to be in prayer for those that are hurting, doubting, stressing, searching…..just all the things.  Whew.

As I prepared my heart for even getting out of my seat to go to that place, I found myself wrestling with the question of what exactly I was going to ask for prayer about.  My health?  My family?  Our country? My parents or inlaws?  Friends that are in need of healing?  Friends that are hurting?  These are things I pray for every single day, mind you…but would I use this time to really focus on any of those things?  I literally started making a list in my notes of the things that I found myself worrying about….x, y, z….1, 2, 3….and I had quite a list, y’all.  I was saying to myself…”hmm, I worry about this and that and them and those”…..and then, I am just going to tell you exactly how it happened…..I prayed one more time for the Lord to just fix my eyes on the thing that He would have me pray for.  My eyes searched up and down the list I had made…..and then as clear as the sun, a word jumped off of the page…..as I realized it was listed over and over and over (honestly more than I even remember writing it!!) – WORRY.

Y’all this was NOT breaking news for me.  This was not some revelation that I never realized I had a problem with.  This was the same old thing creeping back up and making me realize I push it back down and don’t deal with it.  SO many times I pray about trusting more, I push it down and then it pops up again….within MOMENTS.  Not this time.  I am telling you that had the devil himself stood between me and that prayer room I truly believe I could have fought him with my own little hands.  This was an urgent kind of need to pray….but I am not going to paint the picture that I went in there and never “worried” once I stepped foot in there…because I did just that.  Once I wrote my name on a tag and sort of came out of the “moment” a bit…I started to (over)think about who I might be praying with.  Would I have to tell them my life story?  How could I work in the depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue syndrome, move from NC to TX, the fact that I’ve had five surgeries in as many years (four of those pretty major)…in a short period of time and still get across ALL THE THINGS?  My heart raced.

But, God.

When the sweet lady led me to the face of the woman that would be praying over me, I saw a friend.  As a matter of fact, I had sat beside her the night before at the conference.  We had held hands in prayer for the conference.  We have had coffee dates and she was even my Bible study leader my first year here in Texas.  She gave me a look of, “are you ok with me praying for you?” and I laughed and said “YES!!  I don’t have to tell you my life story – you already know it!!”

So, with all of that behind me, and as another reminder that He has little ole ME in the palm of His pierced hands….I admitted that I have a problem with WORRYING.  That sometimes it consumes me and I know it’s not healthy.  I know it’s not something He rejoices in.  I know it is not from Him and I know without a shadow of a doubt, that He wants more for me.  He wants me to trust Him completely.  With the huge things – which I seem to have less of a problem with….but also, with the silly things that seem to “worry” me all day long!  I received such a blessing in that prayer room…a prayer so sweet, so freeing, so intentional and so perfect JUST FOR ME.  I truly believe the Holy Spirit got me to that room and interceded where I was absolutely DREADING to go and admit my failures.  When I think of the BIG things in life, I truly feel like I trust Jesus….totally.  But, y’all, with the mundane little things?  The things that likely most of you don’t even bat an eyelash at????  Ummmmmmmmm…….

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Seriously, that was my life!!!  All the doctor appointments, the waiting for test results, the day to day things that were not 100% clear or answered – WORRY.  The feeling that I might not be doing enough, or doing too much, or being unsure about directions to a place…the worry that I might feel *gasp* embarrassed.

Well. Not. Any. Longer.

I cannot tell you the peace or difference that I feel today versus even Friday.  Only hours have passed but I feel like a lifetime has.  I cannot imagine the hours I have wasted in my life of trying to retain control over a situation that was absolutely not mine.  That was not my circus, my monkeys, my family or even my friends….  I have always excused my worrying ways with statements like “I just worry for everyone” or “that’s just me” or by calling it something that it is not – like anxiety.  They are two different things.  Yes, both can lead to physical FEELINGS but my worry was out of control and Jesus is healing it.  He is helping me remove that from my life and I cannot tell you the weight that is off of my shoulders today.

I have not shared this with anyone, becuase I felt like I needed to tell the WHOLE story – all at once – and not pieces of it…so that it’s clear that I am not judging people who have a tendency to worry.  You do you, boo.  I had to deal with the root cause of a lot of the issues I was facing – the things that were keeping me up at night – the things I felt so deeply were affecting my daily life (besides my fatigue) in such a large way.   This was a HUGE thing…and does it likely feed into the depression and anxiety that I face?  I have a hard time thinking it does not.  So, who knows how this whole thing will effectively change my life in more ways than one?  God does.  He’s already worked this all out and tied it up in a bow….and I’m just here with a smile on my face, a song in my heart and a considerably stuffy nose from the crazy amounts of crying I did this weekend.  It was amazing, to say the least.  To know that there was a purpose for my attendance there, totally just makes me so grateful that I answered His call to go.

I am already so very excited for next year’s conference.  Instead of worrying about who I’ll go with, what I’ll wear, the perfect time to arrive….my thoughts are full of promise and wonder about what answers He will reveal to me next year.  What will this year in between look like for my spiritual walk?  How is He going to use me to show and tell others about His love and His provision?  Ohhh the possibilities are endless and so is His love.  For that, I am SO grateful.  Without a worry in the world.

 

Focusing on the grace…not so much the race

17 Jan

This is a post I’ve wanted to share for a long time. I’ve written probably fifteen iterations of it over the last few months and every time I let fear win…I delete…I walk away…I keep it to myself.

I’ve not landed on a word for 2020 yet. I had one last year…I’ll probably decide on one this year, but it’s something I do with prayer and intention…but I can tell you that a theme I keep hearing in music, in scripture, in prayer and in life – is SHARING. So, I’m going to DO THAT. When I feel something resonate with me that I hope can help others, I have a natural inclination to want to share it. So here it is today:

Having something wrong with you that others cannot see is a struggle. When I show up at Bible Study with my hair curled, a dress on and my shoes actually match…you don’t know that I had to wash my hair the night before because there’s no way I can wash, dry and fix my hair without a break in between. You don’t know that I had to pick out my clothes the night before to make it easier for myself the next morning or that I decided against makeup because holding my arms up for extended periods of time makes me exhausted. You don’t see the tears I cried last night because I didn’t feel like cooking dinner for my family because I knew it would wear me out and that a bath would be out of the question….because even that is tiring. You don’t see the depression that cycles from missing out on life events…the anxiety that comes with planning anything – literally anything – because I am afraid that when it rolls around I will be too fatigued to show up. You don’t see the worry that comes from letting people down and fearing that they won’t give you grace – again.  You don’t see the disappointment from getting excited about getting out and doing something but then it’s “one of those days” and there is NO way you can make it out of the house….and quite frankly, the bed.  You don’t see the way I miss the race of deadlines and a work family and last minute presentations.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a THING.  It is one of MY things and I have truly tried to own it.  To just live with it…to give MYSELF the grace that I’d extend to any of my loved ones.  To pace myself. To do what I can and focus on THAT.  Focusing on the things I can’t do…the things I run out of steam for…the things that do not get crossed off of the list? That leads to frustration, shame and sadness.  Which puts me in a funk…which leads to a depressive state…which….are you seeing a pattern here?

When you see someone with a cast or a sling or hear them coughing or see visible scars – is your inclination to judge them or feel a certain pang of hurt for their illness/injury?  Just because all scars are not visible does not mean that we don’t all have them and need that sympathetic/empathatic smile you’d give someone that you knew was going through something based on their appearance.  I have to tell you, I barely made it through this afternoon.  I overcommitted myself this week and I was struggling this afternoon.  Once I had the chance, I got comfy and I slept for HOURS. I needed it. It didn’t mean I am lazy or worthless or unproductive.  It meant I was taking care of a need.  I needed rest.  But don’t think I didn’t go to my calendar, make a line for rest, draw a box AND CHECKED IT OFF.  Focus on what you CAN do, friends.  It makes a world of difference.

*******SIDE NOTE TANGENT BELOW*******

While I’m at it…a reminder…check on your friends.  The sick, the well, the strong, the weak.  The busy, the bored, the employed, the retired, the traveling, the homebodies….ALL THE PEOPLE.  Ask how they are…and listen to the answer.  And y’all…if someone asks how you are, TELL THEM.  I don’t know about you but I mean it when I ask someone how they are really doing….I want to hear the truth.  I don’t want to a hear a standard answer or a flippant reply.  I want to know HOW they ARE….how can I be praying for them….have the prayers I’ve been praying been answered?  I value my friendships…I value my prayer time…and I want to be sure that my friends know I am praying for them with intention, as specific as possible and as often as I say I am.

Weight Loss Chronicles ~ TOC

24 Feb

I cannot tell you the number of times that I have been contacted by a friend from high school, a neighbor or a perfect stranger to ask for help as they decide whether or not to take the plunge and have Weight Loss Surgery.  It can be SO intimidating and stressful throughout the process and especially when thinking of maintaining a new life and a new relationship with food.  I am always SO happy to help and always direct them to this blog as well as my Instagram feed for WLS (username:  rnyftw) but I have noticed how hard it is to go back and reference each stage of my journey so I thought I’d link it all here to help anyone (and myself!) who may need to see a specific one:

WLS Chronicles – The Decision

WLS Chronicles – The Initial Visit

WLS Chronicles – Pre-Op Testing

WLS Chronicles – Pre-Op Diet

WLS Chronicles – Surgery Day!

WLS Chronicles – Post-Op Diet (Days 1 -3 Clear Liquids)

WLS Chronicles – Post-Op Diet (Days 4 -13)

WLS Chronicles – Emotions

WLS Chronicles – HELP!!! (links to apps, and support talk)

WLS Chronicles – Post-Op Diet (Days 14 – 20) ~ Semi-Solids

WLS Chronicles – Post-Op Diet (Day 21/Week 4 – Day 41/Week 6) ~ Soft Foods

WLS Chronicles – Post-Op Diet (Day 42/Week 7 – Three Months Post-Op)

WLS Chronicles ~ Week 14 Update

WLS Chronicles ~ Dining Out

WLS Chronicles ~ Maintaining

I hope that makes it easier for everyone to reference the stage they are looking for!  If you have ANY questions beyond what I’ve blogged out, please please please reach out to me!  My email is mrsjmejones@gmail.com and I truly do enjoy helping others in their journey as well!

 

Promises, Promises

23 Feb

I am so human.  SO human.  I am also SO thankful that Jesus is much more than that.  That His promises are guarantees.  That said, I am going to promise you that I am going to update you, in due time, on all of the changes that have gone on in my life in the last year.  I will try to follow through with this but I will likely fail….but I do PROMISE you that I have good intentions!  If you have followed or known me long at all, you know that I love lists…so I will just jot down here the changes and come back here to link once I actually type it out!

In 2017 – we……..

  1. Sold our NC home.
  2. Lived with my Mom and Dad (and without my hubby!!!) for two months.
  3. Moved to Texas.
  4. Road tripped to Austin, Houston, Waco, Arlington, and Galveston.
  5. Lived in an apartment for several months.
  6. Started an amazing Bible study, through Community Bible Study.
  7. Continued weight loss.
  8. Built a house.  An amazing, beautiful, creation if I do say so myself!  (see #10 for referenced IG acct to see pics)
  9. Started backyard projects.
  10. Started a home decor Instagram page (due to that nagging fear of my friends/family growing tired of me sharing home stuff) at http://www.instagram.com/sweetcharmhouse
  11. Visited NC in July and December.
  12. Stepped up our prayer life.

SO, happy Friday and have a great weekend!  I’m going to work on my blog catch up posts!  🙂

 

WLS Chronicles ~ Maintaining

25 Jul

It has been almost SEVEN months since my surgery and I am still absolutely overjoyed at my decision.  I have found more energy than I EVER remember having, am only on one medication (hypothyroidism) and I am feeling more confident than ever.  This surgery has given me a new lease on life and I LOVE it!

Now, I make the best decisions with ease on food and drink choices.  I eat a LOT of cheese.  A LOT.  Mostly I eat eggs, bacon, chicken, broccoli, more chicken, cheese, beef, cauliflower, more cheese….ha ha ha!  I drink coffee.  A LOT OF COFFEE.  Splenda, sugar free creamer and the occasional sugar free Torani syrup are necessary in this new life.

I find myself with tons of energy during the day, when you are supposed to have it!  Moving was still exhausting but I could tell many times that I was able to do more, lift more, move longer when we were packing up our home of four years!  (We moved from NC to TX….not sure if I blogged on that…will do if I haven’t!)

Do I get hungry?  It depends.  If I miss a meal, I get hungry around the six hour mark.  I usually eat every three hours…so I can tell if I missed one easily.  But the hunger is different.  I crave protein and healthy foods.  I love roasted veggies.  I feel like I can TASTE foods better because I’m eating so much healthier.

Do I cheat?  I guess it depends on your definition.  I eat a few M&M’s (peanut) with my cheese and crackers if I am creating my own bento box.  Peanut M&M’s do contain protein so it’s not a terrible choice.  But I eat a max of FIVE.  It gives me enough of a sweet taste but will not wreck my life plan.  I ate a bite of my Mom’s birthday cake.  I have licked icing off of a knife.  In the last few weeks (since my nutritionist told me to treat myself every now and then) I have let myself have more carbs a few times a week.  Sweet potato – yessssssss.  (with butter + cinnamon + splenda)

Do I have cravings?  Yes.  As mentioned before I crave healthy foods.  I do have unhealthy wants as well.  I want soft, white bread.  All the time.  LOL  I do not cave on that one and I won’t.  Sandwiches were a go-to for me and I do miss them but I would rather stick to my plan.

All in all, I am doing quite well at adjusting to “life after bariatric surgery” and have had VERY few issues.  I have had “dumping syndrome” a couple of times, both after having something with a large amount of milk.  I (obviously) now avoid large amounts of milk.  I find that if I don’t plan, I see either a stall or I don’t feel my best.  SO – I plan!  🙂

In all honesty, the hardest parts of this journey have been been:

  • the planning – it can take as much time as you want it to take…from a few minutes to stop and think “do I have my water and a healthy protein” every time I walk out the door to a few hours meal planning/grocery shopping/prepping.  You get what you put into it.  It is SO worth it to take the time to figure out what works for your schedule, your new tummy and your family/lifestyle.
  • the change in habits – (I mean I am from the South where EVERYTHING revolves around eating!)  Thinking about food nonstop is a really hard habit to break.  We are inundated with Food Network, recipes/videos on Facebook, food everywhere we go – it is extremely hard for someone who is trying to live a new lifestyle of eating to live and not living to eat.
  • the emotions from support and nonsupport – This one is pretty self explanatory but the support I have received from my husband, parents, children, in-laws, friends and weight loss surgery family has been nothing short of amazing.  The feedback on my progress, on pictures, on my meals….I can’t tell you how important it has been.  It’s the reason I had to “come out of the kitchen” (my Dad coined that!) a month after my surgery.  I had all intentions of only telling a few people but I quickly realized that the cheerleading and kudos and encouragement meant far more to me than my privacy or pride.  The negative side of that, of course, is opening yourself up to criticism, snarky comments or judgements.  The worst thing you can do to someone who has lost 105 pounds is NOT MENTION IT.  I promise.  It is awkward.  I feel like I’m searching for the reason they aren’t noticing or mentioning it or is it me or am I not that different or or or or orrrrr….I feel like saying, “You mad, bro?” when someone doesn’t!!!   (One day I am going to post a Dos and Don’ts I PROMISE!)
  • the impact on my family (good and bad) – I think I covered most of this already but it does impact every day life, of course.  I prefer to not go to Texas Roadhouse.  I LOVED it.  Truly.  BUT THOSE ROLLS THOUGH.  That one is a hard one.  They are EVERYWHERE.  I am certainly not going to ask my family to not eat them, so I just don’t go there.  It is where they go without me and have their own dates and I stay home or find something else to do.  No problem.  Am I jealous when they all get dessert?  You betcha.  I’m human.  Occasionally, I’ll have a bite (depending on what I have eaten) but I have resisted overdoing it.  We truly have to plan our day trips, date nights and dinners out in a way that we have never had to before.  Our kids are picky (ok, so is Mike) so we’ve always had to plan ahead – look at menus – but NOW it’s an extra challenge with my new tummy.  I am SO appreciative of understanding kids – they really have never complained about the changes.  Of course, I feel like that’s probably because they see the good in this new lifestyle.  They see me healthy and energized…and most of all, happy.

 

WLS Chronicles ~ Dining Out

25 Apr

I had a request to put together some restaurant experience from a WLS perspective.  It is not as easy as it might seem to just eat less than you did before.  It takes some planning, tons of patience and it certainly takes a support system that understands and empathizes with what you’re going through.  Life is DIFFERENT.  It is BETTER, for sure.  But, different, nonetheless.

My first meal out was Mexican.  I ate refried beans.  They were amazing.  Cheap.  Everything.  🙂  Once I felt better about going out, it was easier to ask our server if I could eat off the kid’s menu.  I have yet to find a restaurant that denied me that chance.  I have a card from my surgeon stating that I had bariatric surgery but have not needed to “prove it” yet!

The easiest way to see my food habits is to check me out on Instagram.  Search the hashtag #whatJJate and you’ll see ALL my foodie pics!  Here are some things that I snapped pics of that have worked well for me in the last several weeks and where I had them:

Broiled Fish, Bay Breeze (Sanford, NC)

This was one of my first restaurant meals.  It was delicious.  I could only eat VERY little and to be honest it was not great reheated.  If I had an air fryer maybe it would have been better?  It was a costly dinner for what I ate so I have not had this one again!  (Note, I just was not very comfortable asking about the kid’s meal here…no knock on them, I just wasn’t prepared to talk about my surgery too much to strangers.)

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Grilled Chicken Cool Wrap, Chick-fil-A (Many times, many places!)

This is one of my faves.  It is a quick decision and as long as I have somewhere to stop and eat, it’s easy.  I usually get the avocado ranch dressing and dip it in there (sparingly).  The key to this one is SMALL bites.  One wrap is two servings for me at this time.  I peel off most of the wrap as the lettuce holds it together nicely.  I do still eat a few bites of the wrap though.

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Protein Bistro Box, Starbucks (Many times, many places)

Another great idea.  It includes apples, hard-boiled egg, grapes, white cheddar cheese and Justin’s honey peanut butter.  (It also includes a multigrain muelsi bread which I discard.)  I squeeze a little of the peanut butter on the apples – delish!  A great choice if you forget to pack your snack and need a meal on the run!  I have also taken this into restaurants if I was worried about their choices.

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{Kids Meal} Grilled chicken w/ broccoli rabe, California Pizza Kitchen (Durham, NC)

This was yummy and for sure was better than any of the regular menu options.  Yes, you can always go with a salad with some type of protein but you are paying about $12-$14 for ONE meal then.  A kids meal $4-6 will easily fill you up (protein first – then veggies to fill up) and you’re not wasting a ton of food.  I usually take the leftover veggies home to put w/ other protein meals!

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Grilled Chicken Quesadilla, Los Charros (Broadway, NC)

I usually get this with a side of guacamole to put on top of it (or pico).  I open the quesadilla up and then just eat the chicken and cheese.  I also usually let myself have TWO tortilla chips with salsa if I’m still hungry after my chicken is gone.

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{Kids Meal} Grilled chicken w/ broccoli, Outback (College Station, TX)

Easy choice here!  Order from kids menu….the chicken is really good.  You can do steak here too of course but this was before my steak days! 🙂

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Burrito Bowl, Chipotle (College Station, TX)

This looks HORRIBLE.  But it’s delish. 🙂  I get a burrito bowl w/ no rice.  Only protein of choice, beans, salsa, cheese, light on the lettuce and sour cream.  It is easily 4-6 meals for me.

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Sirloin steak, Texas Roadhouse (College Station, TX)

My first steak after surgery.  I chose to wait three months post op to have ANY steak because I like mine medium (risk of infection in your recently sewn up gut!).  It.was.amazing.  Also, it’s easy to order a REAL portion (I did 6 oz) because it’s easily divisible.  🙂  I ate this three times….ordered my two sides as a bowl of chili and a house salad.  Ate the chili for another meal and had some of the salad each time I ate the steak.  Makes that $9.99 go pretty far!

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White bean chicken chili, Lupe Tortilla (College Station, TX)

We make this a lot at home.  I think my Dad eats it about twice a month.  It’s easy to make and is packed with protein w/o having a ton of bad carbs.  The restaurant version was the same and very good.  I did not eat the tortillas w/ cheese that it came with (but I wanted to).  I ordered this from the “Starter” menu so it wasn’t the price of an entree but was two servings for me.

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Cheeseburger (no bun), green beans & mushrooms, Sodulak’s (Snook, TX)

A cheeseburger (hold the bun) is an easy choice anywhere.  Having a side like green beans is a huge bonus for me!  I was able to eat about 1/2 of this burger w/ the mushrooms on top and a few bites of green beans.

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{Kids Meal} Grilled chicken w/ broccoli, Outback (Southern Pines, NC)

Ordered from the kids menu again…and my Mom got a potato that they gave her extra cheese and bacon for…I added that to my chicken and will do that again!  Yummy!  Pretty much MOST restaurants have grilled chicken on their kids menu and some type of steamed veggie.  (Note:  I have gotten very comfy about the kids menu and don’t even feel the need to tell my life story in defense of it!)

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Fast Food Options:  OF COURSE, cooking at home – grilling, roasting, etc…. is usually best…LIFE HAPPENS.  These choices have gotten me through a meal that I might have otherwise skipped (DO NOT DO THAT).

Chick-fil-A

  • An 8 count (FRIED!) nugget entree only has 9 g of carbs and packs 28 g of protein.  My tummy tolerates these VERY well…just eat slowly!
  • Grilled chicken sandwiches (minus bun) are great!
  • Even the regular (fried) chicken sandwiches are low in carbs due to the fact that they are not heavily breaded.  (Again, no bun.)
  • Chicken Noodle Soup…the small has 18g of carbs and 12 g of protein.  (NOOOO crackers!)
  • I stay away from the salads because there is just not that much chicken in them and I have to focus on protein.

Taco Bell

  • Breakfast Soft Taco (Bacon) has only 15g of carbs and has 11 g of protein.  Again, take it SLOW and chew well.  I TRY NOT TO EAT ALL OF THE TORTILLA.  (So, I move all the contents to one side and tear off the tortilla.)
  • Beef Soft Taco Supreme has only 20 g of carbs and has 10 g of protein.  (Same tortilla note above.)

Bojangles

  • You can order a side of bacon and egg.  For real.  🙂

Cook Out

  • Burgers w/ no buns
  • Grilled chicken w/ no bun
  • Barbecue & slaw

Wendy’s

  • Burgers w/ no buns
  • Grilled chicken w/ no bun
  • Chili is a WONDERFUL option.  (small has 16g of carbs and 15g of protein)

Big T’s, Jim’s, Dairy Bar, etc…. – stick with either hamburger steak, burger w/ no bun, grilled chicken, or eat before you go with family and you can have an unsweet tea or coffee and visit and not worry about what you eat!

TRAVEL NOTES – If you’re blessed and get upgraded to First…there is usually a low carb option and MOST meals come with salads that you can put whatever “meat” (and I use that term very loosely!!) on the salad and call it a day!  Best to pack snacks that you can easily turn to though, in case they are just not serving or are only carb-loading!

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HOME CHEF/HELLO FRESH/ETC ETC ETC NOTE:  You can still do these services..you just have to watch the carbs.  Choose meals that are low-carb or that you can adapt by not eating the breads.  Most of them include sides that are relatively low on carbs (like roasted veggies) so it’s still a possibility!

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Treats:

Sugar-Free Sno-cones are the BEST!

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WLS Chronicles ~ Week 14 Update

6 Apr
I have not posted lately about my progress with weight loss surgery so I thought I would while I have a few minutes on my hands this morning! It has been 14 weeks and 2 days since my life changed in a major way. I am only on ONE medication now (which I can’t shake – you know thyroid meds NEVER go away once you start!!). I have more energy than I can ever remember in my life. My diet and meal planning still are a huge part of my day. I have been able to dine out with friends more lately and even last night had dinner at a friend’s house. You wouldn’t believe the anxiety over worrying about hurting someone’s feelings by not eating a ton of their home cooked food. (Yes, I know not everyone would have this anxiety but when you are someone who is super sensitive you are more sensitive about other’s feelings and some of y’all just should thank me right now for that because SOME people just don’t care about anyone’s feelings! I digress…) However, we had a wonderful time and I explained and we were done with that!
I have kissed blood pressure and diabetes meds goodbye. I have kissed 80 pounds goodbye. I have kissed lots of foods goodbye. I have kissed LOTS of clothes goodbye (5-6 sizes down!). I have welcomed new friendships made by this journey. I’ve enjoyed exercising which I have really never EVER looked forward to before. I have adapted to my new tummy and my new emotions and new habits….and I have even turned into the most COLD NATURED PERSON I KNOW. (Well besides Shannon :)) EVEN IN TEXAS! LOL I have felt stress about new things. Not eating enough protein, drinking water too quickly, having 1 too many carbs… It is crazy to think of the differences in my diet and lifestyle. There is absolutely no way to tell you in words the emotions and pure joy that I have in my heart over this opportunity. The coolest thing is that people have reached out, privately, to ask questions. To get advice. To tell me they have been considering it. To dig deeper. To get support. So while I’m already in my feels over here, let me tell you that I am OVERJOYED to support others and their personal decisions to make changes to better themselves. Whether that means surgery or diet changes or lifestyle changes – if it makes you better….if it makes you live longer, if it makes you able to enjoy your family more, if it makes you healthier, DOOOOO IT.  Will everyone agree with you?  NOPE!  I can tell you that firsthand.  Side note, don’t get me wrong….those that don’t agree with you likely won’t tell you that to your face…but the whispers happen.  The “why didn’t she just exercise and eat better” questions….the “wow, that was drastic” conversations…the people who just act like it didn’t happen (that’s by far my favorite….hahahahaha….like, do you NOT notice I look crazy different?  now you just seem weird.)  Honestly I used to be offended by the thought of someone not agreeing but then I read a few memes (HA HA HA!) and felt better.  You know the ones…
Also, the support of family and friends means a TON. It is still second to my relationship with Jesus. He is the ONLY reason I have been successful in this because I AM WEAK. Alone, I’d be searching out some Shipley’s Donuts right now. But here I sit, coffee with Splenda & sugar free creamer in hand. Happy. Blessed. Grateful.

WLS Chronicles – Post-Op Diet (Day 42/Week 7 – Three Months Post-Op)

12 Mar

This phase is where you can introduce some crunch back into your life!  There were a few things that I wanted SO badly before this phase that I could finally have now!!  Having anything NOT mushy was a welcomed change to me.  Being able to try a few new things was exciting as always!

Probably the number one thing on that list was this cheesy snack:  Whisps!  I had seen this from other losers (affectionate term for my WLS friends! ) and was really looking forward to them!  (Purchased at Costco.  Seen at Publix as well.)  They did NOT disappoint. VERY cheesy.  Wonderful as a “toast” for tuna or chicken salad.  Great crumbled on top of salad.  (A serving is 23 crisps which is too much for me personally…but in that serving you’d have only 1g of Carbs and 13 grams of Protein!)

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WLS Chronicles – Post-Op Diet (Day 21/Week 4 – Day 41/Week 6) ~ Soft Foods

10 Mar

I feel like I waited my whole life for this phase.  Then, I realized it was so much more work!  🙂  Knowing you only have a handful of choices does make things easier in the beginning.  Realizing you have to be creative and efficient and prepare and meal plan is a beast!  Thankfully I have a ton of time on my hands these days!  This face is centered around reintroducing soft foods, planning meals and making great choices in order to keep up the success.  The list for this phase is really long….so I’ll just summarize what I was most excited about:

  • eggs, soft scrambed (YESSSSS!)
  • flakey white fish
  • tuna (cooked)
  • small shrimp
  • low-fat deli meats, thinly sliced
  • oatmeal
  • cauliflower (soft/mashed)
  • soft lettuce (green or red leaf or bib)

I could not wait to have an egg….or fish…or turkey.  I just wanted something close to what I had previously eaten!  Most of these foods agreed with me.  The oatmeal was the only thing on this list that I only tried once.  It was not very high in protein, needed to be fortified and was just very plain (even w/ Splenda and cinnamon)..just not worth the trouble in my opinion.  The eggs were amazing.  I started with egg whites only but am now on to real eggs…the yolk doesn’t agree with everyone and some people are just more careful than I am.  I feel like the yolk is the least of my worries.  If there was a Hershey’s kiss inside, I’d avoid it for sure! 🙂  Again, tons of time spent scheduling meals this phase.  Having any kind of appointment or structure means packing a bag and taking food on the go.  You have to let go of worrying what people think, for sure.  I have eaten in waiting rooms, my vehicle, Target, Costco….when it’s time, I’m eating!  I won’t let a silly thing like worrying what others thing ruin my success!  (This is such a change from the old me!)  Here’s my bag when I took my Mom for a procedure at the hospital:

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This reminded me – STRING CHEESE!  This is a staple for any weight loss surgery patient.  You have to have it with you everywhere you go.  Lowfat Sargento is my favorite.  Two sticks is the perfect snack size and that is 12 grams of protein!  Not too shabby!  I have them stashed in any refrigerator I’m near.  (My sweet hubby bought me a small fridge for our room since it’s upstairs away from the kitchen…having popsicles in the freezer for a bedtime snack is my jam.)

My go to cooler is my Pack-It (in the pic above).  You freeze the actual bag so there is no “sweating” or mess.  It’s the best.  I have a few so that one is always ready for me.  I take bottled water everywhere I go, too.  Never want to be dehydrated, even this far out from surgery.  It is constantly a risk.

Tuna salad was a big deal for me during this phase.  I have not made it (still, at 10 weeks out) to having a “meal” yet…..meaning a meat and two veggies because I am 100% focused on protein.  I will have a “salad”…and I use the term loosely because it’s really just 2-3 oz of chicken and a few sprigs of spinach!  That’s as adventurous as I have gotten.  It is really fun to figure out new ways of eating, meal planning and trying new things.  Me and Pinterest are besties at this point!

Learning to listen to your tummy (which many refer to as their pouch or pocket or sleeve at this stage!) is a new thing for most people.  Knowing that hiccuping when you are eating means you’re likely eating too fast or taking bigger bites than you should be.  Gurgling in your tummy might mean you are hungry.  A tightness in your chest means you’re full.  Every body is different and ever surgery is different and every success story is different.  Comparing is unhealthy and usually leads to disappointment or arrogance – so just, NO!

 

 

 

WLS Chronicles – Post-Op Diet (Days 14 – 20) ~ Semi-Solids

9 Mar

Day 14 starts “Week Three” of post-op.  This is when you get to do some actual CHEWING!  You will never ever understand how much you miss this simple act until you have nothing to chew!  All liquids from the first two weeks are allowing with the addition of some semi-solids.  This is usually thought of as an applesauce consistency.  So, because I love a bulleted list…here you are:

  • Light, low fat strained yogurt or plain Greek yogurt (no fruit/seeds)
  • Protein fortified strained hot cereals like cream of wheat or cream of rice
  • Low fat 1% cottage cheese or ricotta cheese
  • Protein fortified cook and mashed or pureed potatoes and non-gas forming veggies (carrots, squash, green beans or peas)
  • Mashed black, pinto or navy beans
  • Hummus
  • Protein fortified sugar free and low fat or fat free pudding

Most of the above will need to have some protein added in order to meet goals for the day (still need 60-80 grams of protein).  Unflavored protein powders are a great way to get the protein in but BEWARE they are not all created equally!  Some leave a grainy texture, some you can “taste”…  I found that Isopure was the best for me.  Again, don’t buy a huge portion until you have sampled to be sure you won’t waste your money.  Non-fat dry milk powder works for adding protein to puddings and cream of wheat.  Two tablespoons of dry milk powder adds about 5 grams of protein.

The schedule is a little different for this week because when you being to EAT actual FOOD, you have stop drinking all liquids 30 minutes before you eat.  You cannot drink ANY liquids WHILE eating.  ALSO – you have to wait until 30 minutes AFTER you eat to begin liquids again.  In addition, it should take you 20-30 minutes to finish your meal (or…snack as the size would indicate!).

For instance, if I woke up at 6 and had cream of wheat at 6:30….I would be finished by 7….and could only drink liquids at 7:30.  Then my next food would be at 9:30 so I would need to stop all liquids by 9 in order to start that!  Watching the clock is VERY important once you have this surgery.  Your success really depends on your commitment to the process.  The apps and resources I mentioned in this blog post really do help so much.

My first semi-solid meal was the Ricotta Bake (from the world according to eggface).  It was the best thing I had tasted in weeks!!!  🙂

Here is the picture I sent to my family because everyone was waiting for me to have this…I talked about it constantly because I couldn’t wait!

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It did NOT disappoint…it was wonderful!  That week I also enjoyed vegetarian refried beans:

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Small dollop of sour cream on top of them made all the difference in the world to me!

This phase starts to get very time consuming as you are constantly planning, preparing and watching that clock.  For me, this time period was Jan 10 – Jan 16.  My first restaurant meal happened that week to.  We went to San Felipe (a local Mexican restaurant).  It was just my husband and I, which I think helped my anxiety about the whole thing!  Being around a ton of people who are all eating what they want will get to you, trust me!  I had refried beans there as well.  I ordered a side of them and ate them for two days!  I am finally a cheap date!

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